Cunningly crafted. . . . France’s unquiet histories are brought to life by a master storyteller.”



A teenage Moroccan boy runs away to Paris to try and discover something about his French Mother.

An American postdoctoral researcher returns to Paris ten years after her student years in the city.

Tariq travels the rougher parts of Paris on the Metro that he falls in love with and works illegally in a fried chicken take-away. The search for his mothers history leads him to discover plenty about French/Arab recent history. His naivety of the recent past is startling but he learns to accept some of what has happened to his fellow Arabs and relates it to his lost mother even if that was not her families fate.

Hannah is researching the life of women in occupied France during World War Two. She spends her days listening to womens accounts of their lives recorded and kept in a library. She also revisits a few places from her past and meets up with an English friend. They talk about her research, her past love in the city. He helps with some of her research gaining access to one of the recorded women that is still alive. Ultimately Hannah discovers that she can love again.

Two very different characters brought together in this interesting story. Tariq ends up lodging in the flat that Hannah has rented. His French is much better than Hannahs so he helps with some translating. He also provides a sounding board for Hannahs thoughts though neither realise this. These little discussions help them both come to realise what they both really want in their lives.

A lovely read with some dark humour hidden where you least expect it. Once again a highly recommend from me.


Reviewed by:

Trevor Litchfield

Added 2nd October 2018

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Trevor Litchfield